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    The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   Keto Bars
    February 9, 2004    PAGE 10       > About LCL Magazine      > Cover Page      > Inside Cover      Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12     

  Featured Articles
 The Low Carb Paradox
 Low Carb Aphrodisiacs
 The Measure of Love
 Delightfully Romantic
 Cosmetic Surgery: Part III
 Valentine's Day Treats
 Interview: Jonny Bowden
 The Bear Facts
 Overcoming Negativity
 A German Vacation
 Make It Low Carb!
 Snapshot: Schlotzsky's Deli



  The Low Carb Connoisseur

                 A German Vacation by Bill Beaty

                                                   "The world is a book,
                                     and those who do not travel, read only one page."
                                                                         Saint Augustine

Our best travel memories are always the people we have met...

A few years ago our family rented three cars in Frankfurt and turned them in 17 days later in Munich. In between was a trip full of back roads, out of the way sights, and small town gasthauses. There was the joy of seeing the German Alps from deserted roads, teeth clenching moments driving on the autobahns, and great meals that lasted entire evenings in little out of the way towns. Along the way we met beautiful and wonderful people.

If you're not afraid to approach total strangers, you can have a wonderful time in Europe. Asking for help with simple things like train schedules, subways, and even bathroom, makes everything else easy. Unlike America, foreigners don't usually run when strangers ask for help. Our travel memories and laughter are full of experiences in train stations and city streets and department stores when all we were looking for were the men's and ladies' rooms.

And nowhere were we strangers more than that day in Ulm, Germany. We were six Americans, and we were stopping people on the street and asking for the nearest bathroom.

Ulm wasn't in our original plans, but we had detoured in honor of Herta. At the end of World War II, a young soldier with the first name of Brown came to Ulm as part of the occupation force. He met a young German girl with rose petal lips, and they fell in love. Brown and Herta were married and came to the United States, and eventually their daughter married our nephew, making them part of our large extended family. Today, almost fifty years after they were married, Herta and Brown lie together in a simple country cemetery in southwestern Ohio.

We had three separate cars because the travel agency had a special and wanted a lot less for three cars than for one big van. Trying to stay together on the Autobahn is another story in itself. We were wandering the back roads when we saw the road sign to Ulm. We couldn't pass up the chance to see Ulm, where Herta had grown up and met Brown.

Ulm lies against the banks of the Danube and has one of the largest cathedrals in the world. You can fit the crowd at most college football games, about 20,000, inside the cathedral. Somehow the cathedral had survived the war unscathed, and its spires can be seen from all over the city. We had seen the cathedral and had taken pictures by a sign with the simple name "Ulm," and were ready to leave town on our way to Mad King Ludwig's palace in southern Bavaria.

But first we needed to find the bathroom. That isn't normally hard in big German cities. Public water closets, with the big "WC" sign, are usually convenient and clean and charge only a small fee, but we hadn't been able to find one. The streets were full of people returning to their offices for lunch, and one of my brothers-in-law approached a middle aged German couple. There wasn't a WC nearby, they said, but then they did something that would never happen in the United States, they invited us to his office to use the facilities.

The six of us, unmistakably Americans in dress and actions, followed them a few blocks and across a busy tree-lined street to a modern, high rise building. The sign outside was in German and meant nothing to us.

It was only when we got to his office on one of the top floors that we realized where we were. This was a courts building, and our host was the Ober Something Or Other. His judicial robes hung in the corner of his office. Looking back, (we had his card, but have long since lost it), he was either the prosecuting attorney, a judge, or some other officer of the court.

After we had used the bathrooms, the couple invited us to the roof to see the view.





Calling it just a view is an understatement. From the rooftop cafeteria and the surrounding terrace, the medieval German city was breathtaking. Dominated by the cathedral, Ulm spread out before us.

On one side was the cathedral and, in the other direction, a suspension bridge spanned the Danube and led from the city. Looking directly down, our host explained, the little row houses had been quarters for the army before the world wars. I blew a roll of film on that roof.

His wife brought out their road atlas, mandatory for driving in Europe and available at every gas station, and pointed out the route we should take out of town. Then our host handed us his card and cautioned that, if we were stopped by the police, we should ask them to call him. The way we were driving in unfamiliar territory, we could use a Get Out of Jail Free card!

Back in America, we put a copy of one of the pictures in a card and mailed it to them, thanking them for that simple, but unforgettable, act of kindness. In that picture, the judge, or at least officer of the court, is in the yellow sweater. His wife is the woman in the black cape holding the travel atlas.

We met a lot of very nice people on that trip, and these were two of the nicest.

Herta would be proud.


Copyright © February 2004  Bill Beaty and Low Carb Luxury
Insert photos Copyright © 2004  Bill Beaty


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